A very successful Technical Workshop that was co-sponsored by UNMAS and GICHD, was held at GICHD 15-17 February 2006. This workshop was financed by a contribution from the Government of Canada.
A total of 15 mine affected countries were represented along with six Non-governmental Organizations and four commercial demining companies. The attendees were those at the operational level who were familiar with the current technical issues of demining operations.
A questionnaire was distributed before the workshop and the agenda was largely derived from the problems and comments that were identified in the questionnaire.
Sessions that were conducted throughout the workshop included metal detectors and dual-sensor detectors, road clearance, manual demining, mechanical demining, personal protective equipment, neutralization devices, information management, communications, and surveys. Each session was proceeded by a very short introductory presentation and then the floor was opened to discussion. Participants then expressed what problems they were encountering and discussions followed where others could describe how they solved or addressed the problems. At the end of the session, requirements for additional work or gaps in technical knowledge and hardware were identified and a way ahead was recommended where this was feasible.
The workshop raised many technical issues and the response from the participants was excellent. Many solutions were proposed, the discussions were lively and extremely beneficial, and a wide range of technical issues were discussed.
The feedback on the workshop from the participants was that it was one of the most productive and focussed sessions that they had attended and a follow-on workshop, similar in nature should be held every two years.